Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – February 20, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts Jr.

The NRAA Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest is set for Feb. 22 in the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario tributaries. Sign up at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston or the Lewiston Launch Ramp the morning of the event. It runs from sunrise to 2 p.m., with awards to follow at Lewiston No. 1 Fire Hall in the village. You must be a club member to participate, but they do give you a $5 discount to sign up for the year.

Tracey Mikolajek of Orchard Park with her biggest lake trout to day, fishing the Niagara Bar area of the lower river with Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Buffalo Wingz Waterfowl.

Fishing was very good in the river until the winds and rain hit Lake Erie, causing stained water to slow things down. Shore casters in the lower river have had it tough this week and Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reported about 2 feet of visibility or less on Tuesday. Boaters have also struggled but a few fish are being caught by fishing MagLips off three-way rigs or egg sacs in bright colors like pink or chartreuse. As far as the Lake Ontario tributaries, fishing has been a mixed bag of browns and steelhead according to Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters. “Conditions are actually very good on most creeks and this is a great time of year to get out and fish changing water conditions,” says Feltrinelli. Stonefly hatches are also occurring on many creeks so remember to “match the hatch.”

Remember that the WNY Boat Show is next week, Feb. 26 to March 1 at the ADPRO Sports Training House, 1 Bills Drive, Orchard Park. Free admission Wednesday and Thursday. For more info,

Jacob Strycharz of Orchard Park caught this lunker steelhead fishing the lower Niagara River with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston.
Tracey Mikolajek of Orchard Park caught this steelhead in the lower Niagara River fishing with Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Orchard Park last weekend.

Orleans County

There has been a little bit of precipitation and melt-off from the beginning part of the week but not a big change in flows, especially the Oak.  Flows for now are medium or just one notch less and still pretty clear.  There is a chance of delayed reaction with a small bump in flows this mid or end week period but no great change in water color likely now that cold weather is back for a few days.  The forecast is for snow showers today and then mostly clear through the rest of week with a chance of a weekend warm-up with highs in the 40’s°F.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was using his No. 4 spinner to take some respectable steelhead from shore in the gorge of the lower Niagara River.

Fishing pressure on the Oak is light.  Hook ups are coming for guys who hit it for at least a few hours on a mixed bag of fresh or darker and semi spawned fish.  Post spawn browns and Atlantics are still being caught too.  I’m looking forward to the next good blow out and we’ll probably need another round of snow or a good rain to make that happen.  Upstream headwater supplies look to me to be good for maintenance but not enough right now for a good old fashioned late winter/early spring freshet.  All the other smaller tributaries are mostly open for drifting chances and I see a little bump up there from this week’s rain and melt-off to something like medium and slightly stained flows.  So much up and down weather makes it hard to predict when and where concentrations of fish may be.

Wayne County

Christopher Kenyon

Streams- The water flow is still great in area streams. Maxwell is fishable; however, it is currently snowing, which might make the shoreline slippery.

The snow is supposed to turn to rain later today. It’s been a tough season weather wise for casting the waters.If we only had some stable weather patterns. But…this is not a weather report, so throw out your egg sacs and bright red beads and catch some steelies.

Bay Bridge Sport Shop at the south end of Sodus Bay has everything you need for stream angling.

Bays- The ice is a slushy mess on top and with predicted rain today, it will be worse. Under the slush is 6 to 8 inches on Sodus Bay. Make sure you stay away from the north end.

It’s tough walking, but out by Shaker Heights Road the perch are hitting in 20 feet of water. Move around if you don’t find them. They are hitting small spoons with fresh spikes.

The pike are hitting near LeRoy Island. Stay on the south east side of the island. The breach on the north east side of Sodus Bay continues to leave open water.

The season for pike runs through March 15th. Length is 22 inches and the creel limit is five a day in Lake Ontario embayments.

Because this is a weekly report, ice conditions can change in a day. Always use caution, especially with the mild winter we are experiencing. Safe ice today is no guarantee for tomorrow.

Make sure you know where the creeks are that flow into the bay. That’s where the ice is never solid.

Port Bay has seen perch action on the east side of the bay. The usual points are not producing like last year. Use smaller jigs and tip them with spikes or perch eyes and keep your line light.

A warm-up is predicted later this week, which will again make ice fishing messy. Just be careful.

If you need tackle and bait Bay Bridge Sport Shop and Davenports at the south end of Sodus Bay are always opened. They both have live bait if you like fishing with small minnows.

They also have plenty of fresh spikes.

Check out the rest of the Wayne County Tourism web page for the locations and hours of local bait and tackle shops.

Erie Canal- Some anglers drilled holes on the Widewaters section of the canal. Not sure what they caught; however, canal waters hold a large variety of fish.




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